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Kamran Scot Aghaie, Chair CAL 528 | 204 W 21st St F9400 | Austin, TX 78712-1029 • 512-471-3881

Spring 2005

MES 325 • Israeli Cinema and Television

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
39660 TTh
2:00 PM-3:30 PM
3:30 PM-5:00 PM

Course Description

The course is aimed at undergraduate and graduate students of Middle Eastern Studies, Jewish Studies, Hebrew, Radio-Television-Film and all students interested in studying Israeli culture and society as expressed in cinema and television. The dialogue, music, characters and storyline in cinema and television programs render rich audio-visual texts, which reveal various facets of the society where these media outlets are created. Israeli cinema and television manifest competing discourses concerning Zionism, socio-economic gaps, tradition vs. modernism and the Arab-Israeli conflict. Israeli Cinema and Television will explore the social, cultural, political, economic and aesthetic context in which films are made. Yet, course discussions will assess the shortcomings of film theories which infer the film discourse exclusively from the context of its making; films will be explored as more than a mimetic manifestation and a literal representation of the time and place where they are set. The course will employ a variety of film theories, including formalism, realism, feminism, and semiotics, to provide comprehensive analytical tools for media analysis. Israeli Cinema and Television will also examine the relationship between the film and television industries. Since the introduction of cable system in Israel in the early '90s, both industries have undergone significant changes. Israel then had the world's highest subscription rate to cable and the penetration rate of cable is one of the highest. The course will assess the ramifications of these developments regarding media consumption, leisure time and consumerism in contemporary Israel. Students participating in this course will develop new ways of seeing films and television programs. Students will learn to recognize filmmakers' and producers' choices in using an array of cinematic devices to develop the discourse of a film or a television program. Fourteen full-length films, several shorts and excerpts from television programs will be screened during the semester. All the films are in Hebrew with English subtitles. Knowledge of Hebrew is not required.

Grading Policy

Class attendance and participation 20% 2 papers 15% + 20% Class presentation 10% Final exam 25% Film critiques 10%


Required Texts: Shohat, Ella. Israeli Cinema: East/West and the Politics of Representation, University of Texas Press, 1989 Course Packet: Israeli Cinema and Television Supplementary Reading: Allen, Robert & Gomery, Douglas. Film History: Theory and Practice. McGraw-Hill, 1985. Andrew, Dudley. The Major Film Theories. Oxford University Press, 1976. Ben-Zadok, Efraim. Local Community and the Israeli Polity. State University of New York Press, 1993. Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. British Broadcasting Corporation, 1972. Dmytryk, Edward. On Filmmaking. Boston: Focal Press, 1986. Dominguez, Virginia. People as Subject, People as Object: Selfhood and Peoplehood in Contemporary Israel. Madison, Wis., 1989. Elon, Amos. The Israelis: Founders and Sons. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1971. Elazar, Daniel. The Other Jews. New York: Basic Books, 1988. Erens, Patricia. The Jew in American Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1984. Fernea, Elizabeth & Hocking, Mary, ed. The Struggle for Peace: Israelis and Palestinians. University of Texas Press, 1992. Friedman, Thomas. From Beirut to Jerusalem. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1989. Hazleton, Lesley. Israeli Women: The Reality Behind the Myths. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1977. Katz, Elihu, Culture. Communication and Leisure in Israel. Ha'universita Ha'ptuha, Tel-Aviv, 1999. Katz, Elihu & Gurevitch, Michael. The Secularization of Leisure: Culture and Communication in Israel. London: Faber & Faber, 1976. Kracauer, Siegfried. From Caligari to Hitler: A Psychological History of the German Film. Princeton University Press, 1947. Kronish, Amy. World Cinema: Israel. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1996. Said, Edward. Orientalism. New York: Vintage, 1978. Silverman, Kaja. The Subject of Semiotics. New York, 1983. Smooha, Sammy. Israel: Pluralism and Conflict. London and Hanley: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1978.


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